In desert canyons, ferns will flourish, sprouting from the bone-dry walls. None of them is kept alive by current rainfall: little ever reaches them. But rain that cooled the mesa 500 feet above 20 years ago seeps down through sedimentary rock to deliver needed moisture. The source is slow, no doubt, but savingly it keeps the green things growing. So it is with grace in us. The saving wrought by Jesus’ sacrifice began a flow that still is watering whatever’s dry in us. We may have been “saved” in a moment, but the slow water of deep holiness seeps down to the stony layers of relationships and attitudes and deserts we’ve never even hoped to water. One day, we give up grudges, half-surprising ourselves—and certainly surprising those who wounded us. Weeks later, we begin to reach beyond our comfort zone to love the unloved and the graceless. Our most important relationships—our friendships and our marriages—begin to shift: we hold our tongues; we listen more; we offer comfort where we once doled out our wit or scorn. The grace that saves us always changes us—sometimes at once; more often slowly,imperceptibly. This is as fully Jesus’ work as blazing, noonday turnarounds. “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6). Allow what’s dry to grow toward green. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
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